RSS LinkedIn Google Plus

Call us: 0800 014 9884

Mobile web or Responsive Web Design?

Same goal, different method

A boom in mobile technology in recent years means that the internet can now be accessed from a wide range of different devices, from computers to smartphones to tablet devices. As a result, the development of mobile websites has become necessary to ensure that content is optimised for viewing via different mediums.

In 2010, prominent web designer and developer Ethan Marcotte suggested the concept of Responsive Web Design (RWD), to achieve the same goal as mobile websites using an alternative method. RWD is the use of a single fluid grid-based layout that allows it to respond to the size of the  display of a device, catering for the needs of the user no matter how they access the website. Since Marcotte’s proposal, the idea has gathered momentum and 2012 is expected to see a growing trend in this field among designers and developers.

There are many arguments both for and against RWD. On the positive side, it saves development time because there is only one set of HTML code; and in design terms, there is no need to create a separate mobile website, avoiding multiple sets of extensions and amendments whenever changes are required.

Content-driven websites pose a challenge

Potential problems include the differing functions and user experiences of smartphones and tablet devices when compared with desktop computers and laptops. It is also important to consider that many websites are very content-driven and feature lots of text and images. The latter can take a long time to load and aren’t ideal for mobile devices, as mobile users tend to want quick, precise information. It is therefore better if content is condensed for small devices.

Many companies already favour the mobile web – and, following investment in this, it is unlikely that they will be willing to switch to RWD. However, there are examples of websites which use RWD very effectively. The success of an RWD website can be measured by looking at its intended purpose – to be accessible to users across a range of different screens and devices – and see how well it performs. For example, the layout of the Boston Globe website translates well into a linear format. The navigation changes into a drop-down menu to save space, while sections and articles fall neatly into a logical order, producing an accessible user experience.

The advantages and disadvantages of RWD compared with the mobile web suggest that a wise solution may be to use the advantages of both. For example, using the mobile web’s ability to optimise content and use smaller image file sizes; and RWD’s fluid grid, which allows content to adapt to the device on which it is viewed. The internet is in a constant state of change, and even if RWD isn’t used in its entirety, designers and developers are increasingly likely to adopt its principles into their work.

Chris Au

[Screen capture (top): Ethan Marcotte's Responsive Web Design from abookapart.com.] 

Written by chris_au_swapChris Au
james_riches_swap

Bing makes ground in September UK search market share Monday 13th of October, 2014by James Riches Bing was the only major search engine to increase its UK market share in September, climbing 0.4 per cent as Google and Yahoo suffered slight dips.

More on this story »

Microsoft releases quick fire messaging app: Skype Qik Wednesday 15th of October, 2014by Martin Lindley Microsoft launches Skype Qik, a new instant messaging service which allows users to send video clips to their friends and family.

More on this story »
james_riches_swap

Google confirms first Penguin update for over a year Monday 20th of October, 2014by James Riches Google has confirmed that the Penguin algorithm was updated over the weekend. Site owners now face an anxious wait to see if they have been affected, either positively or negatively.

More on this story »
theEword - 23 hours ago

This Wizard of Oz-inspired wearable lets you click your heels to order a taxi or text your friends http://t.co/nNLN91Bx9N

Reply Retweet Favourite
theEword - 2 days ago

We're looking for a Marketing Manager to join our business development team. Interested? Read more here: http://t.co/NUVAzQjceN

Reply Retweet Favourite
theEword - 2 days ago

In case you missed it, Google updated its #Penguin algorithm over the weekend http://t.co/oO43SGWUOD

Reply Retweet Favourite
theEword - 2 days ago

Hope everyone has a great week! http://t.co/obstuw2odL

Reply Retweet Favourite
theEword - 2 days ago

The iPhone is now the perfect smartphone http://t.co/RAtLagfwv1

Reply Retweet Favourite

theEweekly Wrap: Oct 3 Friday 3rd of October, 2014by Dan Moores

More on this story »

theEweekly Wrap: Oct 10 Friday 10th of October, 2014by Martin Lindley This week: Facebook gets hyperlocal ads, Microsoft CEO has gender pay trouble, and comedy club starts pay per laugh system.

More on this story »

theEweekly Wrap: Oct 17 Friday 17th of October, 2014by Dan Moores theEweekly Wrap: Google readies Android 5.0, HBO plans streaming service, and U2 says sorry

More on this story »

Who loves theEword

Who loves theEword Who loves theEword